Behind the Mosque Controversy, a Rich History of Both Coexistence and Conflict

Cross-posted at River Twice Research. This article first appeared in The Atlantic.

Over the past two months, the planned construction of a Muslim cultural center in the vicinity of the World Trade Center site has become the fulcrum of an acrimonious debate about religion, freedom of expression, and the place of Islam in the United States. You would have had to be living off-the-grid somewhere not to have noticed the hundreds of opinion pieces, thousands of blogs, and considerable airtime on television and radio. As characterized by Newt Gingrich, the planned center is no less than the latest chapter in a war of civilizations: "America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization."

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Twitter and the Cowardice of Sarah Palin

Originally posted at Cagle.

When I joined Twitter in July 2006 I was the 3,365th person to sign up for the 140-character message streaming social network. Now, with more than 190 million users having taken the plunge, I guess you could call me an early adopter of sorts.

See, I've always believed that the Internet -- and by extension new online tools like Twitter -- have the ability to create change because it levels the political playing field tearing down walls that have traditionally separated the powerless and the powerful.

It turns out I may have been wrong -- at least when it comes to a certain half-termer from Alaska.

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Ban Glenn Beck from Ground Zero

The logic, if there is any, of the conservative critics of the Park51 Project is that a mosque anywhere near Ground Zero would be terribly offensive to the 9/11 victims' families. Well, you know who is a lot more offensive to the families of 9/11 victims -- Glenn Beck.

Beck has said in the past that he "hates" the 9/11 families. He said on his program in 2005 that he is "so sick of them." That they should just "shut up" because they are "always complaining."

That seems so harsh that it literally seems unbelievable. Well, listen for yourself:

 

So, if we're banning things from near Ground Zero, then banning Glenn Beck makes more sense than anything else. The Park51 Project is actually trying to heal wounds, spread a moderate form of Islam and reach out to everyone in the community. And they certainly have never said anything nearly as offensive about the 9/11 victims or their families as Beck has.

Plus, Beck works for the man who apparently funded the Park51 Project, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. So, if the same man who is funding the mosque is funding Beck (as the second largest shareholder in Fox News, Prince Alwaleed is in essence signing Beck's paychecks). And if Beck thinks that the mosque should be banned from the area because of its questionable funding, shouldn't Beck also be banned under the same logic?

So, for all of these reasons, it makes all the sense in the world to start a movement now to Ban Glenn Beck from Ground Zero. I hope you'll join me. So, if you see him anywhere around there, tell him to "Get! Get!"

Sign our Twitter Petition to show your support: http://act.ly/...

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Twitter and the Cowardice of Sarah Palin

Originally posted at Cagle.

When I joined Twitter in July 2006 I was the 3,365th person to sign up for the 140-character message streaming social network. Now, with more than 190 million users having taken the plunge, I guess you could call me an early adopter of sorts.

See, I've always believed that the Internet -- and by extension new online tools like Twitter -- have the ability to create change because it levels the political playing field tearing down walls that have traditionally separated the powerless and the powerful.

It turns out I may have been wrong -- at least when it comes to a certain half-termer from Alaska.

There's more...

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